Incisive Media Foundation signs partnership with Women’s Aid to broaden diversity initiative

The Incisive Media Foundation was established in 2011 and has raised in excess of £1.5M since then for a range of charities for vulnerable people, including mental health charity MIND and Chicks.

Women’s Aid is the national charity for women and children. It has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic abuse through practice, research and policy. The charity is a federation of more than 180 organisations, providing 300 local life-saving services to vulnerable women and girls across the country. Its services have been in even greater demand during the Covid-19 epidemic.

“We are extremely proud to be working with Women’s Aid as one of our three charitable partners in 2020,” said Incisive Media MD of events Simone Broadhurst. “As a business, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to support women, and to celebrate their many successes with our increasing suite of diversity events.”

Women’s Aid joins Place2Be and The Connection at St Martin’s on the roster of charities supported by Incisive Media. Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity with more than 25 years’ experience working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools. It provides mental health support in schools through one-to-one and group counselling using tried and tested methods backed by research. The Connection at St Martin’s helps thousands of people every year to move away from, and stay off, the streets of London. The charity achieves this by tackling the underlying causes of rough sleeping as well as offering practical help.

The Incisive Media Foundation raises significant funds for these charities through Incisive Media’s portfolio of events. It also seeks to provide a framework through which staff can volunteer a small amount of their time to contribute their skills and make a meaningful difference to the lives of others. The Foundation is managed by a dedicated committee of staff from across the business, providing executive oversight and strategic input. Teams working in every area of the company participate in furthering the Foundation’s aims.

“At Incisive Media we focus on making sure we create an environment that fosters a supportive, inclusive and challenging culture with a deep sense of integrity,” said Incisive Media CEO Jonathon Whiteley. “The Incisive Media Foundation is an important cornerstone of this ethos, and I’m delighted that we are now supporting Women’s Aid alongside our longstanding charitable partners.”

Incisive Media’s MD of Events Simone Broadhurst tells the PPA how the business is having to innovate – and fast

What made you want to work in the publishing industry?

I always liked the fast-paced, creative, innovative, and fun environment of publishing and the tension and excitement when everyone worked together on a magazine. You felt such pride when the product was printed and on your desk.

Chart your career from the start to where you are now.

After working at a small video publisher, I focused in on marketing and moved onto a larger contract publisher and then moved over to a publisher which produced specialist consumer magazines. Following that I decided to move to Incisive, heading up their marketing department and consumer team, working on titles like Investors Week, Bloomberg Money and a Consumer Show Investor 2000. My career changed after Incisive bought an insurance business, which needed someone to run their six events. I went to work on the portfolio and did everything from recruiting speakers and delegates to organising the logistics and eventually growing that team and taking their six events to 60 over an 8 year period. I went on to run different events portfolios in legal, tech, finance and sustainability across Incisive and for these last two years I have been the MD of events across both tech and finance. I have seen everything during my time at Incisive – 9/11, 7/7, the dot-com bubble – but this has been by far the most challenging crisis that the events industry has ever seen.

How are you finding managing your event team virtually? Do you have any tips for virtual event management?

In terms of managing remotely, we have been working flexibly from home for four years. The transition has therefore been fairly seamless and as a business we have done a lot of things to keep our existing and furloughed teams engaged. I think honesty is important, always asking the team how they feel and getting that engagement with them because it is tough, and everyone is having to learn things at a very quick pace.

What new opportunities and innovation has this crisis brought the Incisive events portfolio?

The biggest innovation for us has been the Deskflix series, which brings together content and virtual events, our markets have really engaged with this new and exciting digital product. We have quickly pivoted to run our roundtables and smaller events online, becoming experts in platforms like Zoom, Fuse and Webex, constantly trialling things to work out what is best. iVent is also a platform which we will be using for our larger events. Professional Pensions Live, due to take place in July will be run over three days online rather than two full days live.

Do you reach larger and different audiences with a virtual event than you would have with the equivalent live event?

I would like to think virtual events open up the opportunity for more people to attend and what I would expect, as we have seen with our webinars, is that we are doubling the reach of the community. By accessing a larger audience, we may even find that it’s a stepping stone into developing more of a global reach.

How can you make virtual events interactive and engaging?

We looked long and hard at this and found that iVent had the most engaging look and feel around it and could excite both our sponsors and delegates. They are fairly established and really understand an event content-led business. We will have pre-recorded content but will also build in live Q&A panels as well as utilising iVent’s networking platform for sponsors and the strong exhibitor area, building up opportunities for sponsors to speak to people directly.

How will this time influence the way you approach contingency planning in the future?

Our T&C’s going forward will be a lot more flexible and will embrace what has happened here. Our new virtual future will be part of all our planning and will focus more on hybrid events. We’ll also think more about how to market our events and will essentially change the way that our events look and feel. We have all been talking about virtual for a long time, but this has accelerated everything.

What’s on your radar?

Looking at and continuing to study and understand all these online platforms. We haven’t found the right tech for our hybrid events which I think needs to be our focus for next year. As a publisher with a mixed portfolio of events, it means we can run our smaller events in the first half of next year and run our larger events in the second half when it becomes safe to do so. We were already looking at increasing our paid for delegate revenue this will be accelerated as a result of COVID-19 with the addition of different pricing models for virtual and face-to-face delegate revenue.

What magazine would you stockpile?

I wish I had stockpiled copies of Vogue. I would have enjoyed sharing the fashion pages with my daughter.

Incisive’s events MD reveals her very personal mission to make industry awards more diverse

I remember it vividly. A sea of black and white and low humming voices, almost all were Caucasian… and male. This was the first awards industry event I attended 25 years ago and as it spread out in front of me, I felt how imposing, authoritative and unavailable it was to me. I did not belong, I was an imposter.

In many respects, business and society more generally have come a long way in the 25 years since then. The media industry, for example, has long had a reasonable gender balance in its workforce, albeit not always at the top. Incisive Media, where I’ve worked for the past twenty years, is as good as anyone in this regard. Our world is far from perfect, but it’s a veritable Heinz 57 compared to the industries we serve as a leading business to business media company.

In so many sectors, gender imbalance was just normal. Everyone accepted that men would hog all the senior roles and throughout their operation, there would be more men than women, not to mention more white faces than ethnic minorities.

It was no surprise, then, that business to business ‘Award Programmes’ brought out the worst in those organisations. They were meant to be a celebration of an industry’s crème de la crème, anointing stars and creating new heroes. Companies saw them as a key way of measuring standards in an industry or profession and well sought after recognition for companies, teams or individuals. They generally culminated in a glamorous gala dinner at a top venue, usually a big city, premium hotel. And, of course, they were – and still are – celebratory, boozy and great fun. However, they fundamentally ignored a large portion of unseen talent due to normalised business structures.

Shocking as this may sound, our predominantly female team would hold internal briefings about how to say ‘no’ to men who thought we were part of the entertainment. We would politely tell them to keep their hands to themselves, offer each other support and advice on how to be courteous but forceful, all the time being conscious that we also had to ensure we did not upset a client. One deliberate tactic was to be together in groups when dealing with drunk men, while helping them to get taxis home to their – no doubt – ignorant partners.

Even as I write this, I am staggered, and a little embarrassed, to say that we all accepted this as normal. Each and every female events professional from this time carries their own scars. It was unsaid, but all staff knew that clients had special dispensation and if they or their guests didn’t get too out of control or too lairy, we would let low level harassment slide. This was our standard.

Looking back over my career, I once had a boss that used to make me feel extremely uncomfortable, regularly breaking into personal space, constantly sharing obscene and derogatory jokes and comments, with his sport being to see how you reacted. Again, it was an accepted part of a young woman’s working life. Now being an awards judge across many programmes and having read thousands of awards entries, I can see that this experience was commonplace.

And then it changed. Like many, I did not know the name Harvey Weinstein, but when the story broke in 2017 and the #MeToo campaign gathered momentum, something clicked inside many working women, myself included.

I wasn’t alone and I noticed a sea change in attitude from female colleagues and industry contacts. Enough was enough, time to make a stand. I figured the only way this was going to genuinely change was to make sure the future was as representative for our daughters as it is for our sons. In many ways, I was lucky. Working in media provides a platform to influence and it became apparent very quickly that the standout method to deliver some semblance of equality was to showcase women’s talent, create female superstars, provide mentorship and build leaders that inspire.

Incisive Media has a large event portfolio and a ruthlessly efficient event production machine, the perfect engine to create the product to showcase the best that women have to offer. The ‘Women In’ award series was born.

One question needed to be answered, though: why make special awards for women? The counter-argument to a dedicated awards programme is that surely women should be compared equally to men? Aren’t these shows actually derogatory to women? These arguments were made by a few men and even some women. To be fair, this is why these award programmes were not prevalent a few years prior, but in my view, #MeToo changed everything.

Beyond the recognition an award win offers, my vision was to create a network for women within these industries and by launching the awards, highlight the lack of visibility these women have previously experienced. It was also important to provide a focus for changing attitudes in the workplace so that if your boss made crude jokes or advances, you did not have to get on-board or jump ship. Concept to launch in less than six months, the ‘Women in IT Excellence Awards’ and ‘Women in Investment Awards’ were born.

I’ve shared the history, the need, the positioning and the catalyst, but what about the recipe?

Many of you will know the delivery methods of running an award programme, so I won’t bore you with the detail. You know the drill. Launch 6-10 months out, gathering data, creating captivating content, mesmerising marketing and swift systems. Gain momentum and backing from industry bodies, gathering senior, independent judges and advocates, securing sponsors and having the confidence to commit to expensive contracts with multi-billion-pound hotel groups for a series of events which may not even get off the drawing board. Fly by the seat of your pants.

So, what did we learn? Timing was key. Gender diversity was a burgeoning topic in boardrooms across the country, so we had the need. We launched quickly and went for a major sponsor. HSBC Global Asset Management were approached for Women in Investment and it was immediately apparent that our targeting was accurate. Their desire and focus to make a difference matched our own, quickly coming to agreement on a deal, but not for a single year; this was a three year sponsorship deal, on a launch product. Unheard of.

Andy Clark, CEO of HSBC Global Asset Management, said: “HSBC GAM are delighted to partner with Investment Week and Women in Investment Awards. It really shows our partnership in terms of raising the debate in gender and diversity.”

Needless to say, the inaugural ‘Women in Investment Awards’ were an absolute, sure-fire hit. A complete sell out, a crackling atmosphere (of men and women), a visual rainbow across the audience, support for everyone, those on shortlists who didn’t win congratulating those who did. The precise opposite of my first industry event 25 years before.

We launched Women in IT Excellence and Women in Investment in 2017, then over the next two years: Women in Pensions, Women in Channel, Women in Financial Advice, Women in Protection, Women in Investment Italy and Women in Insurance. This year, we are launching Women in Law, Women in Accountancy & Finance and Women in Investment Spain.

Oh, then we decided to launch, Women in Tech Festival, Women in Investment Festival and Women in Insurance Live. It won’t surprise you that there are more to come.

These are the cumulative metrics for the award programmes since launch: 8,250 attendees, 375 judges, 10,879 nominations, 5,344 award entries, 106 sponsors and 94 industry partners. For recent awards ceremonies, we have measured our social drive, resulting in 115,000 impressions and 2,500 engagements through Twitter and LinkedIn for individual events.

And, most importantly, 360 winners and 145 highly commended winners. That’s 505 super talented standout women in our industries, empowered, acting as ‘taliswomen’ for their colleagues, clients, friends and family. Incisive Media is a better place for it too and as a business, is thrilled to have made such a difference to the industries and markets we serve. This tidal wave of female talent has such momentum now and while still a way to go, it’s unstoppable and business, as well as society, is better for it. More colourful, multi-dimensional, accepting and tolerant and far more agile and creative while equally determined and balanced.

And personally, I no longer feel an imposter. It’s only taken 25 years.

This is ‘the Women In’ awards recipe

Pre-launch (32 weeks):

  • Work on categories and mission statement
  • Work on creative
  • Put together list of judges, sponsor targets and non-commercial partners
  • Put together sponsor and partner proposition
  • Book venue

Launch (26 weeks):

  • Nomination campaign (Editorial and marketing campaigns to call for nominations; then ask nominees to answer a questionnaire.)
  • Non-commercial partnerships (As event is about inclusivity, we are keen to work with as many partners as possible. Our target is to have at least five partners and include women’s networks and industry associations.)
  • Commercial partnerships (Variety of sponsorship options; our aim is to be inclusive, so we don’t want price to exclude people.)
  • Confirm awards host (ideally an inspirational speaker rather than a comedian), AV, format, menus

1st round of judging (16 weeks):

  • Engage a large diverse senior judging panel (Target 25+. Each individual judge has up to three categories and we create the shortlists from the judges’ scores.)
  • Publish shortlist
  • Begin table sales

Judging day (12 weeks): This is followed up with a face to face judging meeting to decide the winners / highly commended.

The Awards (0 weeks): Delivery!

For more information about Incisive Media’s Women In events see the links following:

Women in Investment Festival

Women in Tech Excellence

Women in Pensions

Women in Channel

Women in Financial Advice

Women in Protection

Women in Insurance

Women in Law

Women in Accountancy & Finance

Women in Tech Festival

Women in Investment Festival

Women in Insurance Live

Incisive Media adds three new diversity events to its 2020 programme

The events are part of the Incisive Connect brand, a full-service event agency that launched in January 2019 to provide clients with integrated marketing and events programmes to engage their customers and grow their businesses.

On the back of an incredibly successful diversity programme in 2019, Incisive is launching the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards on May 6, the Women in Law Awards on June 2, and Women in Insurance Live on June 25. This brings the business’s total stable of diversity events to 12 awards and conferences.

“I’m delighted that Incisive Media is continuing to launch events that celebrate diversity,” said Incisive Media’s managing director of events Simone Broadhurst. “This is an important topic for us, and we want to support recognition for inspiring achievements of women in professional services sectors. We hope these events will continue to drive debate and further change.”

Incisive Connect has already delivered diversity events in the finance, pensions and IT sectors. It also works with The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) to deliver the UK Credit Awards, and its client roster includes American Express, Blackrock and Orbis.

For more information go to:

For partnership and sponsorship enquiries contact Katy Pieris on +44 (0)20 7484 9720 or email [email protected]

For more information about Incisive Connect, and to read some of our client case studies visit

Incisive Media launches Women in Law Awards

The legal profession can point to some progress towards creating a diverse and inclusive sector, but there is still a long way to go, including the field of gender inequality.

By highlighting excellence and achievement, the awards will provide women throughout the profession with the opportunity to step forward and be recognised.

They also aim to serve as a catalyst to help shape the gender diversity debate, by disseminating best practice and challenging some of the cultural and business norms that continue to hold women back.

Categories include Woman of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Outstanding Returner of the Year, which recognises the challenges associated with returning to work after a long break.

The judging panel includes Evelyn Styles, UK and Ireland general counsel at Hays; Kathleen Russ, senior partner at Travers Smith; Joanna Harris, head of responsible business at Simmons & Simmons; Tuvia Borok, executive director and senior counsel, legal department, Goldman Sachs; and Nicholas Cheffings, chair of PRIME, an alliance of law firms across the UK that is committed to improving access to the legal profession through work experience.

“I am honoured to be on the judging panel for the first Women in Law Awards,” said Harris. “Showcasing the achievements of women across the industry is a great way of celebrating real talent and, importantly, inspires others to make their mark too.”

“I’m delighted that Incisive Media has launched the Women in Law Awards,” said MD of events Simone Broadhurst. “We are passionate about diversity and want to see women’s achievements recognised further in sectors where they are under-represented. We hope these awards will bring about cultural change and tackle the gender imbalance in the legal profession.”

The nomination process for the awards opens on November 28, and the deadline for nominations is January 10.

These awards are the latest in a series of diversity events delivered by Incisive Media, including The Women in Insurance Awards, The Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards and The Women in Investment Awards.

For more information about the awards and the judging panel, please visit

For partnership and sponsorship enquiries please contact Katy Pieris on +44 (0)20 7484 9720 or email [email protected]

Incisive Media launches the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards

While accountants in practice, alongside their counterparts in business and the third sector have looked to build a more diverse and meritocratic profession, there is still a long way to go.

The gender pay gap and infamous glass ceiling are still very much in place in accountancy. Those who make it to the top are outstanding role models, but there are still far too few women leading practices or sitting on boards.

These awards will honour the inspiring achievements of women across all parts of accountancy and will also help shape the discussion around how we can improve diversity within the sector as we highlight some of the most forward-thinking initiatives.

We hope these will help move the diversity agenda forward, especially for women, as everyone knows there are still many issues to be addressed and challenges overcome. Showcasing excellence and achievement is a vital tool in the continuing battle to establish equality across all parts of the industry and in all roles.

“I’m delighted that Incisive Media has launched the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards – the first of its kind for the profession,” said Incisive Media’s managing director of events Simone Broadhurst. “Diversity is an important topic for Incisive Media, and we want to support recognition for inspiring achievements of women recognised in professional services sectors. We hope these awards will continue to drive debate, and further change, in the accountancy profession.”

Kevin Reed, chair of judges for the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards, commented: “The accountancy profession hasn’t shied away from broaching equal opportunities and diversity, but more progress is required.

“The broadening of responsibilities placed on accountants, along with the digitisation of many tasks, means new ways of thinking, new skills and development for those in the profession and wider recruitment, are needed for the profession to remain relevant. These awards will hopefully play a part in raising the profile of the crucial role women play, and highlight the hurdles that many people face in progressing within the profession.”

The awards are recruiting a panel of more than 20 expert judges and the nomination process opens on Tuesday, October 1. The deadline for nominations is Friday, October 25 2019.

For more information about the judges and the awards, please visit:

For partnership and sponsorship enquiries contact Katy Pieris on +44 (0)20 7484 9720 or email [email protected]

Incisive Media appoints Ebru Smith as associate editor of Investment Week

Smith has more than 20 years’ experience of the fund management industry, working for the likes of Schroder Investment Management and Reliance Mutual. More recently, she was head of portfolio management at Brewin Dolphin.

As associate editor of Investment Week, Smith is responsible for using her market expertise to help shape the annual schedule of more than 60 events around the UK, including the Sustainable & ESG Investment Awards, Investment Company of the Year Awards, and the Specialist Investment Awards.

Smith’s role includes researching and shaping conference programmes to suit the evolving needs of fund selectors and researchers. She will also ensure that Investment Week’s awards categories are appropriate for the asset management community, as well as recruiting top-drawer judges to determine the winners.

Simone Broadhurst, Incisive Media’s managing director of events, said: “I’m delighted that Ebru has joined Investment Week. It is the company’s premium investment brand and has a large and fast-growing programme of events. It’s invaluable to have someone of Ebru’s experience and judgement helping to ensure that we pitch everything right for the needs of asset management professionals.”

Launched in 1995, Investment Week is the leading business media brand serving the UK investment industry.


Channel Awards crowned best tech ceremony at the Awards Awards

The channel’s equivalent of the Oscars, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last November, won the Best Technology Related Awards Event at a ceremony in London on May 17, beating competition from three other shortlisted events.

The 2018 Channel Awards saw more than 1500 of the channel’s elite descend on the Battersea Evolution, London, for a nineties-themed show hosted by comedian Katherine Ryan, and a performance by Judge Jules followed by an after party at Club Tropicana in London’s Covent Garden.

“I am thrilled that the Channel Awards has been recognised at the Awards Awards,” said Incisive Media events managing director Simone Broadhurst. “This is our largest awards event and is a major undertaking to deliver. I am delighted that the team has received this richly-deserved recognition for all its hard work.”

The Awards Awards judges praised the Channel Awards for the strong theme woven into all aspects of the night, as well as for exceeding its commercial targets. They added that secondary sponsorship opportunities added value to both guests and bottom line.

The Channel Awards will return to the Battersea Evolution on November 14, with the deadline for entries 5pm on July 12. For more information go to

Incisive Media unveils mission to create a sustainable event business

As part of the new strategy, Incisive Media will use our membership of the SEA to guide us through the ISO 20121 standard and benchmark our implementation and progress. The ISO 20121 provides a practical tool for managing events so that they contribute to the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, environmental and social.

To put the standard into perspective, the goal is to reduce paper consumption across events and improve recycling rates, curb food waste and look at how we can reduce or even cut entirely the serving of red meat during lunch and evening dinners. We have also committed to deliver carbon offsetting at events wherever relevant and provide delegates with accessible venues and highlight how to travel to events via public transport.

“Events are a thriving and ever-growing part of our business but they come with a serious environmental responsibility. With the added challenge of a great number of different partners and suppliers involved in organising and servicing an event, we are asking all suppliers to provide detailed information on their sustainability credentials and initiatives to ensure that they meet with our objectives,” said Simone Broadhurst, managing director of events at Incisive Media.

James Murray, editor in chief of BusinessGreen, the UK’s leading source of information for the green economy (published by Incisive Media), added: “Our goal is to inform, connect, and inspire businesses and organisations as they work to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous economy.”

You can learn more about Incisive Media’s plans by watching their video here

Read our full events sustainability statement here.